For day two on our Bahamas sailing trip anchorage, the winds came. The sun was out but it blew a gale for the whole day. We had a constant 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. After being in a marina for quite some time I needed to renew my anchor faith!
Interestingly, I thought back to the first several times we anchored during a storm. I couldn’t help but sit on the deck to make sure that we were staying put. If you haven’t read about our voyage from Fort Lauderdale to The Bahamas, make sure to read (and watch the video) entitled Sailing Florida to Bahamas.
This time around I felt much calmer.
No, I wasn’t worry-free but I wasn’t consumed by the storm like I was in the past.
I spent quite a bit of time on homeschooling so to occupy Sienna. I knew that we’d be on the boat for at least a couple of days. We did our first art project from a 2nd grade Art curriculum I purchased from the website Teachers pay Teachers (a great resource for teachers and homeschoolers).
The project was to make a ’Tree of Life,’ based on Gustuv Klimpt’s original. We watched a short 5-minute biography that I previously downloaded from YouTube on Klimpt, using a YouTube downloader app, and then went to work to make our tree.
When considering homeschooling for Sienna I’ve been so focused on making sure I get materials that work for her. I’ve researched methods, different curriculum, and various options. Not once have I considered the benefits that I would gain from being a teacher.
Well, it’s been a long time coming but now I’m having a blast.
I’m learning all sorts of things I missed when I was younger. I feel like I’m using my brain in a way that I haven’t in quite some time. It’s great.
And I can’t tell you how amazing it is to watch Sienna progress. I can see her struggle with things and I support her through her challenges. When she comes out the other end and masters something new we both get so excited. I feel like it’s been a long road to get to where we are but it is amazingly fulfilling.
With Sienna’s homeschooling done, I handed her over to Simon.
The two of them built three forts in the saloon and then watched a movie. It’s now been a couple of weeks since Sienna has had interaction with other children so it’s now a priority to find some kids. We noted that there are two boys on the boat down at the other end of the harbor so when the wind dies down I’ll send Simon down to invite them over.
While Simon and Sienna were playing, I spent three hours transferring my photos from my iPhone and Camera to a hard drive. I then managed to line up the raw videos for our Fort Lauderdale to the Royal Island journey. The time it takes to organize photos and videos is painstakingly long and tedious. But on the other hand, I think, ‘what else do I have to do with my time?’ Hehehehe.
As the sunset, Andrew, Simon and I had a beverage in the cockpit enjoying the winds and choppy waters.
The glow of the sun and angry tropical turquoise waters made quite a contrast. Behind the sprayhood, we could sit in a t-shirt and shorts but once out in the wind, there was a bit of coolness in the air. We retired down to the saloon for dinner. I made Italian sausage and cabbage stew; a nice hearty meal for a stormy night.
The boys sat in the saloon watching a war moving and Sienna and I watched ’Stork.’ It was another lovely day being at anchor off a remote island in the Bahamas.
For our last day anchored in Royal Island Harbor, our friends Tom and Tammy, on Mac, offered to take us to Spanish Wells so that we could book in. The duo wanted to get some provisions and they knew we couldn’t get Britican close enough to anchor (too shallow).
At 8:30 am we left Britican anchored in the harbor and the six of us set off on the Cat.
What a treat we had! It was the first time I’ve enjoyed a motor and a sail on a Catamaran and it wasn’t just any Catamaran – it was an Outremere 49. Overall, I felt the boat was humungous. It felt like a floating island. But it was very stable and an extremely comfortable ride. We didn’t have many waves and the winds had died down so I can’t comment what it would be like to sail the boat in harsher conditions.
Overall, however, I was pleasantly impressed.
Previous to owning the Catamaran, Tom and Tammy owned a monohull, sailing the Pacific. I was eager to ask them what they liked/disliked. As I expected, they both explained that there’s pro’s and con’s in both and various compromises. There are always compromises!
Tammy explained that the Cat isn’t as comfortable as the Monohull (I’m talking inside comfort rather than sailing comfort). She liked the smallness of the mono as she could curl up in one of its small spaces. The Cat, however, is wide open and less ‘homey’ (home is my interpretation). But of course, the wide-open space of the kitchen/dining area and then outdoor patio is fantastic. So much space!
And Tammy doesn’t get seasick in the Cat whereas she did when she was in the Mono. Now that’s a massive positive if you ask me.
Tom commented that he thought it would be easier to go from sailing a Cat to a Mono. After taking command of the boat, he realized Cats are quite a different game. Tom was eager to get to destinations quicker and with a Cat, he can certainly do that!
They also mentioned that having a Cat can be difficult – many marina slips along the east coast of America aren’t wide enough to hold them. Further, they often get charged more than Mono’s.
Tammy also brought up a really interesting issue with night watches.
Due to the set-up of a catamaran, you can’t simply hang your head around the side and get a clear view. You really have to get up, walk over to one side and look out and then walk over to the other side and lookout. But perhaps that’s a good thing?! Every 15 minutes you have to go for a little walk 🙂
One point that slightly upset me; Tammy explained that she’s experienced a reduction of Monohull boaters paying them a visit when anchored. If you’ve never anchored in a bay with cruisers, it’s usually a protocol that you’ll whiz by your neighbor in your dinghy and start up a conversation – especially is there are only a few boats in the bay. When Tom & Tammy had a mono they had more mono visitors.
So I wonder…Is there really that much of a divide between Cat and Mono owners?!
Do Mono owners dislike Cat owners (and vice versa)? What’s up with us humans?! Are we innately programmed to form a group that’s similar and then shun those that fall outside the perimeters of the group?!
From my perspective, we are all boaters. Whether you have a mono, cat or motorboat we have a love for the water. So…my message is this: When you’re anchored in a bay, make an effort to say ‘hi’ to your neighbor in whatever boat he or she is in 😉 Let’s not let our innate tendencies to come out!
Back to our Outremer Catamaran trip to Spanish Wells
The trip was super pleasant. It was simply nice to let others do all the work and not have any responsibility for a change. I enjoyed not having to look at the plotter for shallows and Simon was able to sit down and just enjoy the surroundings. Andrew found a chair above an outside hull and took full command of it. And Sienna enjoyed playing with Mac, the lovely 10-year-old cat.
We all chatted and swapped various stories.
When the time came to Anchor, Tom and Tammy went to work. With the use of marriage savers, or electronic headsets, the couple calmly communicated the situation and their actions. Tammy would describe what the boat was doing in relation to the anchor chain and Tom would control the boat accordingly. After around ten minutes the anchor would be out and set well. The two are a great team.
Simon, Sienna, Andrew and I all piled in the dinghy with five days of trash and all our computers/iPhones/etc.
We headed for the dinghy dock to clear Customs, get some bread and milk and find WIFI.
Customs is a few buildings down from the dinghy dock. It’s a beige building that has pallets and boxes around it and in it. When you walk in the door it’s a big concrete floor with pallets of food and other goods that must have been imported in.
At the back of the building, there’s an office room with a few people working.
We were slightly concerned that our boat wasn’t anchored outside the area. Britican was actually five miles away. We had heard that sometimes the Customs Officials want to see the boat. Lucky for us, there was no issue.
We all had to fill out one form that gave our personal details – name, birthdate, citizenship, passport number, the port of destination/arrival. How long we’d stay, where we’d stay and so forth.
Simon and I then filled out three other pieces of paper.
One was a crew list. The Bahamas have not gone electronic yet so there’s no online crew system. Another was the details of the boat – length, weight, tonnage, registration number, homeport, and so forth. And then there was one other piece of paper that seemed to be a combination of all the others.
It took around fifteen minutes to fill them all out.
Once we handed everything in, Simon paid $320 for a cruising and fishing permit and we were good to go. The cost is $300 but we were charged an extra $20 for our crew member. I’m not sure why that was the case?!
The next stop was the small grocery store to determine if a longer hike was required to visit the larger grocery store. All we wanted was bread, milk, eggs, and any good looking fruit or veg. When I walked in and enquired about milk, the attendant’s response was, ‘No, we don’t have fresh milk – only long life. The ship that brings our milk hasn’t left America yet so we don’t expect it for another few days.’
After a nose around I found eggs, bread, and some lettuce.
We eventually purchased a dozen eggs, three cartons of long-life milk, three loaves of long-life bread (like Wonder Bread) and some romaine lettuce for $30. Not too bad.
Not wanting to buy the food until we returned to the Cat, we then went to a little snack shop three doors down that said, ‘Free Wifi’.
The four of us ordered a sandwich and eagerly got out our iPads, iPhones, and computers. It had been days since being online and we were all feeling it. We wanted to know how bad the storm was that hit the east coast of America. We needed to discover what was going on in the world. And I had hundreds of YouTube comments to reply to in addition to blog comments, emails, and messenger conversations.
I instantly felt overwhelmed. With limited time, I did what I could do.
Tom and Tammy eventually joined us, ate lunch and then we all headed back to Mac, the Cat (the boat and the real living cat). Our journey on the way back was serene.
The water was tropical blue, the sun was beaming and the island was full of greenery.
Our hosts were incredibly kind, knowledgeable sharing people. We really enjoyed spending time with them. Hopefully, we’ll see them many more times in future anchorages.
Once back in Royal Island Harbor, Simon dropped Sienna and me off on Britican and then took Andrew to the island so he could explore. Ten minutes later I heard Simon yell out, “Kim. Sienna. I have a surprise.” I really didn’t know what he might have.
Can you believe that sitting next to him in the dinghy was an 8-year-old girl?
The bay was empty of all boats except for Mac, Britican and one other sailboat. How did Simon find this kid?!
Floriana was on the boat next to us. She’s spending two months with his father sailing the Bahamas, something he’d promised her that he do. Floriana’s father, Jim, is the saltiest sea dog that I’ve ever met. Not only has he sailed around the world three times, but he’s gone up and down and stayed on board during the Cat 5 Hurricane that hit the Caribbean in 1992 (and wiped it out).
Within seconds, Sienna and Floriana were best friends.
Sienna gave her new friend a tour, they then decided to build a fort and eventually I found the two in Sienna’s bedroom sharing stories. The girls had an instant bond – it was amazing. Having so much fun, they asked if they could have a sleepover.
Simon took the dinghy over to Jim’s and asked if he minded. Sim also invited Jim over for dinner. Everything was set. Floriana would stay and Jim would join us for battered fish, peas and mashed potatoes.
While the children played, Simon, Andrew and I just listened to Jim tell stories.
After Jim returned from serving in the Vietnam War he followed the story about the boy turned man that sailed around the world on the boat called Dove. (If you haven’t read the book, Dove, it’s worth reading. It’s a great love story set to sailing around the world).
Jim decided that he wanted to follow in the man’s footsteps so he bought a boat.
This guy really needs to write a book! We were in awe of all his stories. And he never came across as being arrogant or ‘look-at-me-I-know-it-all.’ He seemed very realistic, practical and very knowledgable. Of course, we all thought he must be nuts to have done some of the things he’s done, but then again…I’m sure many people say the same about us.
Having dinner and a beer with Jim was such a treat.
And to have Florianna join us for a night was magical. I couldn’t believe that just the other day I made a mental note, ‘Sienna needs a friend to play with,’ and out of know where the friend arrives. Thank you, Universe 🙂
The next morning Simon and Sienna took Florianna home and we made the boat ready to leave. Our next destination was variable. We wanted to get out and experience the sea state and see where the wind would take us. At first, we had one destination in mind, it changed to something else and then back again.
As fate would have it, we went to a harbor offering great mooring balls (as the holding wasn’t good), a fabulous restaurant full of character, good food, and WIFI and a Junkanoo, or local customary Bahamian dance (or jump up).
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Bahamas Sailing Trip Video – Catamaran Bahamas
Enjoy our Sailing The Bahamas articles and video episodes here:
- Previous article/video in the Sailing Bahamas series: Sailing Florida to Bahamas
- Next article/video in the Sailing Bahamas series: Sailing The Bahamas Governors Harbour
- Click here for an overview of our full Sailing The Bahamas trip
If you enjoyed this article & video, check out these from our previous season:
- 1. Sailing to Florida – Amelia Island
- 2. Sailing Florida – St Augustine
- 3. Sailing Florida – Cape Canaveral
- 4. Sailing Florida – West Palm Beach
- 5. 10 Reasons to sail down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)
- 6. Sailboat Windlass Woes
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